Devastated Paul Dunne looked like he was seeing the end of the world but he’ll wake up today realising he thrilled the planet with his awesome Open show.
A closing 78 featured some nightmare moments that cost the 22-year old Greystones ace his dream of the top amateur’s Silver Medal.
Yes, he ended up in a share 30th with the likes US Ryder Cup stars Rickie Fowler, Jim Furyk and Jimmy Walker.
And he can still look back with pride on the fact he was co-leading the world’s biggest tournament into the final day and never folded even after a nightmare start yesterday.
Jordan Spieth even found the strength in his own disappointment to give Dunne his hand behind the scorers' hut at the 18th.
The Masters and US Open champion was trying to win three majors in a row and had just missed out on the chance to force a playoff after a bogey-par finish.
But he still went up to Dunne in the mixed zone and congratulated him on his performance. The pair shook hands and climbed the mental bridge that was installed specially for The Open, leaving the arena to reflect on what might have been.
It was a shame he felt so bitterly disappointed not to deliver a big performance, but he will soon realise that this was a surreal experience that it will stand to him when he’s a seasoned pro chasing major glory.
“I probably wouldn’t have believed you if you’d told me that a few weeks ago,” he said of his fairytale journey to St Andrews and the rounds of 69, 679 and 66 that gave him a share of the 54-hole lead.
“Yeah, it was great. The first three days were brilliant. I'm just kind of still in disappointment from today. But what an experience.
“The crowds have been absolutely brilliant. So a big thank you to them. Thanks for everyone to come over to support, and hopefully I can be back sometime soon.”
With a lone piper piping in the St Andrews afternoon, Dunne teed off to a massive roar from the Greystones faithful who’d made the trip.
He had an easy second shot to the green but later admitted he was thrown off as he chunked his wedge and came up just a few feet short of the stream that protects the green.
He made an easy bogey five and did well to escape with just a bogey five at the second, where he had to reload twice fearing he’d lost two balls in the gorse.
Luckily his first tee shot sailed so far right that it missed the bushes and ended up on the putting green on the Jubilee Course, nearly 100 yards right of the second fairway.
He had hit two provisional balls into the gorse on the right and looked to be heading for a massive disaster before he was told that the first ball had been found.
And after a free drop, he almost made par, coming up short of the green before failing to chip and putt.
He said: “I just never really got settled into the round. I got off to a bit of a rough start and didn’t make my score on the front nine and threw away some shots on the back nine.
“It’s disappointing but great to see Louis birdie the last and get into the playoff.”
That bogey-bogey start wrecked his concentration and while he bounced back with birdies at the third and fifth to turn in level par, just three off the lead, he struggled home in six over 42 with four bogeys and a double bogey six on his card.
Asked about his nerves, he said: “I wasn’t too bad starting. I just hit three wedge shots fat and one thin.
“I don’t think i’ve done that ever. I don’t know where that came from. It kind of surprised me on the first.
“After I hit that second shot it kind of rattled me a little bit and I never got settled after that.
“Obviously I’m just disappointed now but in the next while when I look back and I’m sure I’ll learn something from it.
“Disappointed really sums it up. I’ll look back on it in the next few days and see what I’ll take from it and see how I was feeling over different shots, how I handled myself on them and see how I can do that better in the future,
“Hopefully I can learn from it and improve going forward.”
After bogeys the 10th and 12th, he double bogeyed the 13th and then bogeyed the last two holes, knifing a wedge through the green at the 18th as Oosthuizen got up and down for birdie to force a playoff.
Struggling to put a positive spin on the day, Dunne all but admitted that turning pro was on his mind but may now be on the back burner after a poor final day.
Asked about turning professional immediately, he said: “Not after shooting 78. I don’t know.
“My original plan was to turn pro after the Walker Cup. I haven’t really thought about it. I’ve just been thinking about this week.
“I've got to go tomorrow morning to a Walker Cup practice session at Lytham, so I'll just think about it for the next few days and make a decision, but right now nothing concrete.”